Date of Award

Summer 8-11-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Kinesiology and Health

First Advisor

Jianhua Wu, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Ai Leen Choo, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Feng Yang, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Yu-Ping Chen, Ph.D., PT ScD


Children with Down syndrome (DS) typically present delays in motor and cognitive development compared to typically developing (TD) children. This may be due to low muscle tone, greater joint laxity and lower joint moment and power generation at the ankle and knee. Currently, there are few effective interventions to improve joint biomechanics of motor tasks and cognitive function for children with DS. Recent studies have shown some evidence that whole-body vibration (WBV) may improve muscle strength, bone growth, and balance control in adolescents and adults with DS. There have also been some studies that show WBV can improve cognitive function in TD children, healthy adults, and even in adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, little is not known on the effect of WBV on both motor and cognitive function in children with DS.

This study aims to investigate the acute effects of a single session of WBV on joint biomechanics and cognitive function in children with DS. Five subjects completed one cognitive task (the Flanker test), and two motor tasks (stair ascent, and timed up-and-go) at 3 time points (baseline, pre-WBV, and post-WBV). One session of 10 bouts of 30-second vibration (25 Hz, 2 mm) with 1 minute of rest was administered. Subjects demonstrated qualitative and quantitative improvements following the session of vibration in the motor and cognitive tasks. These preliminary results suggest that WBV could be used as a therapy modality to elicit acute benefits in the motor and cognitive domains in children with DS. Further investigation into the lasting of effects of WBV is warranted.

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